Pete, I hear ya mate… I gave up on flying jets to stay below 25000… to keep the cosmic radiation dose down… I stayed away from Cargolux (747) for the same reasons, and to stay away from the 21 day around the World trips almost all at night… and I tuned in my seniority number at the airlines for a tanker job flying Cl-215/215T/415 scoopers - 4,5 months of alert on base for the same money the airlines pay in a year… and we go weeks without turning a prop… pure bliss… bring lots of hobbies with you and the sports gear… and the fishing rod and tackle box… we have hammocks in the hold for those lazy days… and in the winter off months we go some place warm… we keep the same life rhythm daily… get up same time, eat breekie, lunch and dinner at same times everyday, and ride our bikes to work… no night flights, no crossing time zones, no oceans to cross, no deicing… and no flight attendants and no passengers… and when we do go flying we get to break every rule there is out there dropping water loads on fires… I couldn’t think of a better way to earn a living as a pilot! No hour minimums, no unions, but rather lots of tanker base BBQ’s and evenings out with the boys out fishing… and we use our skills to keep people, infrastructure and assets (timber) safe… after fighting your first fire you realize the satisfaction of using your skills for the common good for our communities.
I don’t miss the airlines and I don’t miss the night flights or crossing time zones or cranky flight attendants… If I want a coffee I go get one myself!! I never thought I would say it… but I am a happy camper! There are so many paths to take in our industry and I tried a few of them… and I just couldn’t go back to the airlines… I was sold after covid when I realized that the government contracts for aerial firefighting are recession and pandemic proof!! And what really hit home post pandemic is the fact that thousands of fellow aviators worldwide made huge changes to their career paths… it was a colossal shift… that is just beginning to be felt in the many areas within aviation! Fly safe brother!